UC San Francisco is one of seven California hospitals selected by the state health department as one of the first in the world to distribute Pfizer’s COVID-190 vaccine early. Healthcare workers and first responders will come first with vaccinations amid a pandemic that has changed lives as we have known it since March. (The department did not respond to a request for a list of the other six hospitals before this article was published.)
The wheels are already in motion at the public research university, where a task force of clinical and pharmaceutical experts has worked with state health officials to plan the distribution of any safe and effective vaccine or therapeutic, according to a statement from UCSF.
The exact schedule for the initial grant is unknown, but UCSF expects the Pfizer vaccine to begin as early as December.
Pfizer said its early distribution contracts were with governments and the first vaccines would be distributed through state-preferred channels and designated vaccination sites.
“Our goal is to start the first shipment as soon as possible, possibly within hours of receiving regulatory approval or approval,” said Francesca Marzullo, manager of Pfizer Global Supply Communications. “In some countries, health authorities may also issue vaccine recommendations immediately prior to distribution. We can only ship to countries with regulatory approval or approval, and we will provide vaccine doses to each country through a robust process that matches those of We have entered into delivery agreements with individual countries that are compatible with us. “
In recent weeks, both Pfizer and Moderna announced that the COVID-19 vaccines they developed were 95% and 94.5% effective in Phase 3 human trials, respectively. Pfizer last week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency clearance to start distributing its vaccine, and Moderna is expected to do so every day. Federal officials say the first doses will be shipped within a day of approval.
This week, AstraZeneca became the third vaccine maker to say early data suggests its shots are highly effective. AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage studies have shown the vaccine to be highly effective. Unlike the others, this vaccine does not need to be stored at freezing temperatures, which may make it cheaper and easier to distribute.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said at a news conference Monday the state was preparing for delivery and distribution, but widespread availability to the public was months away.
“Mass vaccination is unlikely to happen anytime soon,” Newsom said. “March, April, June, July, this is where we start to scale.”
The state set up a Community Advisory Committee made up of community groups, school principals, and nonprofits to discuss distribution and allocation. A draft Phase 1a grant, targeting 2.4 million health care workers across the state, is due December 1.
Next, the committee will look at the distribution of vaccines to people in the community, to medically vulnerable medical first responders, and to those involved in security infrastructure.
“The first round of vaccination will be extremely limited,” Newsom said. “We start with a framework of scarcity.”
SFGATE reached out to the California Department of Health for a list of all seven state hospitals that will be the first to issue the vaccine. The story will be updated when we receive this information.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.